Praise be to Allaah.
With regard to
breastfeeding mothers – and also pregnant women – two scenarios may apply:
If the woman is not affected by fasting, and fasting is not
too difficult for her, and she does not fear for her child, then she is
obliged to fast, and it is not permissible for her not to fast.
If the woman fears for herself or her child because of
fasting, and fasting is difficult for her, then she is allowed not to fast,
but she has to make up the days that she does not fast.
In this situation it is better for her not to fast, and it is
makrooh for her to fast. Some of the scholars stated that if she fears for
her child, it is obligatory for her not to fast and it is haraam for her to
Al-Mirdaawi said in al-Insaaf (7/382):
It is makrooh for her to
fast in this case… Ibn ‘Aqeel said: If a pregnant woman or a breastfeeding
mother fears for her pregnancy or her child, then it is not permissible for
her to fast in this case, but if she does not fear for her child then it is
not permissible for her not to fast.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was
asked in Fataawa al-Siyaam (p. 161):
If a pregnant woman or breastfeeding mother does not fast
with no excuse, and she is strong and in good health, and is not affected by
fasting, what is the ruling on that?
It is not permissible for a pregnant woman or breastfeeding
woman not to fast during the day in Ramadaan unless they have an excuse. If
they do not fast because they have an excuse, then they have to make up the
missed fasts, because Allaah says concerning one who is sick (interpretation
of the meaning):
“and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of
days which one did not observe Sawm (fasts) must be made up] from other
Pregnant women and
breastfeeding mothers come under the same heading as those who are sick. If
their excuse is that they fear for the child, then as well as making up the
missed fasts, according to some scholars they also have to feed one poor
person for each day missed, giving wheat, rice, dates or any other staple
food. Some of the scholars said that all they have to do is make up the
missed fasts, no matter what the situation, because there is no evidence in
the Qur’aan or Sunnah for giving food in this case, and the basic principle
is that there is no obligation unless proof of that is established. This is
the view of Abu Haneefah (may Allaah have mercy on him) and it is a strong
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was also
asked in Fataawa al-Siyaam (p. 162) about a pregnant women who fears
for herself or her child, and does not fast – what is the ruling?
He replied by saying:
Our answer to this is that one of two scenarios must apply in
the case of a pregnant woman.
The first is if she is healthy and strong, and does not find
fasting difficult, and it does not affect her foetus. In this case the woman
is obliged to fast, because she has no excuse not to do so.
The second is where the pregnant woman is not able to fast,
either because the pregnancy is advanced or because she is physically weak,
or for some other reason. In this case she should not fast, especially if
her foetus is likely to be harmed, in which case it may be obligatory for
her not to fast. If she does not fast, then like others who do not fast for
a valid reason, she has to make up the days when that excuse no longer
applies. When she gives birth, she has to make up those fasts after she
becomes pure from nifaas. But sometimes the excuse of pregnancy may be
lifted but then immediately followed by another excuse, namely
breastfeeding. The breastfeeding mother may need food and drink, especially
during the long summer days when it is very hot. So she may need not to fast
so that she can nourish her child with her milk. In this case we also say to
her: Do not fast, and when this excuse no longer applies, then you should
make up the fasts that you have missed.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (15/224):
With regard to pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, it
is proven in the hadeeth of Anas ibn Maalik al-Ka’bi, narrated by Ahmad and
the authors of al-Sunan with a saheeh isnaad, that the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) granted them a dispensation
allowing them not to fast, and he regarded them as being like travelers.
From this it is known that they may not fast but they have to make up the
fasts later, just like travelers. The scholars stated that they are only
allowed not to fast if fasting is too difficult for them, as in the case of
one who is sick, or if they fear for their children. And Allaah knows best.
It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (10/226):
The pregnant woman is obliged to fast during her pregnancy,
unless she fears that fasting may affect her or her foetus, in which case
she is allowed not to fast, and she should make up the fasts after she gives
birth and becomes pure from nifaas.